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WHAT'S IN A NAME: ‘Mr. Conservation’ lends name to BSU building, forest

Dr. Claude Vivian “Mr. Conservation” Hobson bears the distinction of having two things named after him at Bemidji State University.

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Hobson Memorial Union on the Bemidji State campus houses the Beaux Arts Ballroom, BSU Bookstore, Lakeside Food Court and several conference spaces.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer
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Editor's note: This is part of a 20-story series titled "What's in a name?" completed by Pioneer reporters for our 2022 Annual Report. Read more of the section by clicking the embed at the bottom of this article.

Dr. Claude Vivian “Mr. Conservation” Hobson bears the distinction of having two things named after him at Bemidji State University.

Born in 1884 in Kansas, Hobson attended college in Nebraska and went on to complete his doctoral work, eventually receiving his doctorate in Education and Psychology.

He began his tenure at the Bemidji State Teachers College Laboratory School for K-8 students as a science supervisor in 1931.

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BSU acquired a 240-acre forest in 1948 for academic and recreational use by the university and community. C.V. Hobson stands next to the original sign.
Courtesy of BSU Photo Services

Becoming a geography and conservation professor in 1938, Hobson campaigned for the passage of the School Forest Law, which authorizes public education institutions to establish and maintain school forests, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

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The law was passed in 1949, though BSU had already acquired a 240-acre forest in 1948 for academic and recreational use by the university and community.

The forest would eventually be dedicated to him and become known as the Hobson Memorial Forest. It’s located along County Road 20 near Concordia Language Villages.

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Hobson Memorial Forest includes an outdoor classroom.
Courtesy of BSU Photo Services
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Hobson Memorial Forest includes cross country ski trails for all levels of skiers.
Courtesy of BSU Photo Services

Retiring from his position as a geography and conservation professor in 1962, BSU’s student union was built in 1967.

Following his death in 1966, the union was dedicated to Hobson on May 1, 1972.

It now houses the Beaux Arts Ballroom, BSU Bookstore, Lakeside Food Court and several conference spaces.

Related Topics: WHAT'S IN A NAME
Daltyn Lofstrom is a reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer focusing on education and community stories.
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